The BMW E90 began to replace the E46 sedans in late 2004, however the E46 coupe and convertible body styles remained in production until 2006.
All-wheel drive, last available in the E30 3 Series, was reintroduced for the E46. It was available for the 325xi and 330xi sedan/wagon models. The E46 was the first 3 Series to be available with an engine using variable valve lift (“valvetronic”). Various electronic features were also introduced to the 3 Series in the E46 generation, including satellite navigation, electronic brake-force distribution, rain-sensing wipers and LED tail-lights.
The highest selling year for the E46 chassis was 2002, when 561,249 vehicles were sold worldwide.
The M3 version of the E46 was powered by the BMW S54 straight-six engine. The M3 was released in 2001 and was available in coupé and convertible body styles. The transmissions available were a 6-speed manual or the 6-speed “SMG-II” sequential manual gearbox.